In brief: A Good Enough Mother; Character Breakdown; Take Nothing With You – review

A thoughtful novel from Bev Thomas, a keenly observed memoir from Zawe Ashton and a poignant coming-of-age tale from Patrick Gale

A Good Enough Mother
Bev Thomas

Faber £12.99, 352pp

Ruth Hartland is an esteemed psychotherapist whose personal life is unravelling: her teenage son has disappeared, her marriage has fallen apart, and her relationship with her daughter is fraught. When a patient arrives at the clinic who resembles her missing son, Ruth’s boundaries start to blur, leading to errors of professional judgment that will prove damaging and dangerous. An intelligent novel on the dilemmas of the therapist-client relationship and good parenting.

Character Breakdown
Zawe Ashton

Chatto & Windus £16.99, 320pp

The actor best known for playing Vod in Channel 4’s Fresh Meat offers an entertaining and original memoir touching on career, life and identity. It is an enjoyable read, despite the humiliating tales of auditions or filming situations where she is physically assessed, objectified or subject to casual racism. Understandably there is an undertone of rage in her keen observations.

Take Nothing With You
Patrick Gale

Headline £7.99, pp368 (paperback)

Fiftysomething Eustace is locked in a lead-lined room for cancer treatment, his only diversion an MP3 player filled with cello music. The music ignites memories of his childhood in 1970s Weston-Super-Mare, where he lived in an old people’s home run by his unhappily married parents. Eustace was a lonely, unhappy boy until he met glamorous cello teacher Carla, who gave him lessons in music and in life, opening his world to a host of new experiences while simultaneously bringing romantic complications to his family. With echoes of The Go-Between, it’s an evocative, funny and poignant coming-of-age story.

• To order A Good Enough Mother, Character Breakdown, or Take Nothing With You, go to guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £15, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99

Contributor

Hannah Beckerman

The GuardianTramp

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